Patients Happier With Doctors of Same Race

Medicine doctor hand working with modern computer interface as concept

MONDAY, Nov. 16, 2020 — Racial/ethnic concordance between patients and their physicians is associated with higher patient satisfaction scores, according to a study published online Nov. 9 in JAMA Network Open.

Junko Takeshita, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues evaluated patient- and physician-related determinants of the patient experience using data from Press Ganey surveys returned for outpatient visits within the University of Pennsylvania Health System between 2014 and 2017.

The researchers evaluated 117,589 surveys (92,238 unique patients [mean age, 57.7 years; 40.1 percent men; 81.6 percent White] and 747 unique physicians [mean age, 45.5 years; 63.2 percent men; 71.4 percent White]). Compared with racially/ethnically concordant patient-physician dyads, racial/ethnic discordance was associated with a lower likelihood of physicians receiving the maximum score (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.88; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.82 to 0.94; P < 0.001). Lower patient experience ratings were associated with Black (aOR, 0.73; 95 percent CI, 0.68 to 0.78; P < 0.001) and Asian (aOR, 0.55; 95 percent CI, 0.50 to 0.60; P < 0.001) patient race. There was no association between patient-physician gender concordance and Press Ganey scores (aOR, 1.00; 95 percent CI, 0.96 to 1.04; P = 0.90).

“Our data highlights why it’s more important than ever to have a diverse physician workforce who looks like all the different types of patients we take care of, including different genders and different races,” a coauthor said in a statement.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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